She sips her coffee at the kitchen table in silence, and then gazes out the window.
Not knowing what to say, I honor the silence.
Looking out past the room into the another world she says, “It was like the earth shook, you know? Like two tectonic plates colliding,shaking everything that seemed so solid.”
Like an earthquake, two plates moving in different directions. That is what it feels like when words, spew hot from tender lips that also said, “For Better or Worse.”
Sometimes, when marriage becomes a hot mess, a friend’s presence is all that is really needed. Just to hear, “you are loved, this will work out, don’t give up.”
Foundational plates move. God’s love does not.
When external forces press down on tectonic plates, it creates movement in the foundation of life. Two who are broken trying to build a life together and begin their marriage, thinking that the breaks will no longer be a problem. At some point, the breaks begin to move and shift from the pressures that surround.
Shouldn’t love hold this all together – shouldn’t love keep things stable?
Sometimes, the plates move over each other.
Sometimes, plates move away.
Sometimes, the move is unilateral, sometimes bilateral.
Regardless, of the direction, movement causes instability in the foundation that marriage is built upon.
Movement causes knees to bend and your voice to cry out, as you try to hold your balance. The movement causes your arms to open wide to hold onto something solid,
– something stable,
– something that will never shift when everything around you is slipping, sliding and crashing.
Earthquakes hit, but God’s Love holds.
All marriages have cracks in their foundation, and all marriages will experience a shift in the tectonic plates will cause, all that is not secure, to shake to the ground.
How do you survive a marital earthquake?
Call on the Name of Jesus.
It is difficult to pray when tempers rumble, and the soil beneath your feet seems to shift. This is when you know whether your house is built on sandy soil or solid rock. Keep your prays simple. Just say His name, “Jesus.” Call him, and he is there. “You will call Him Emanuel – God with us.” He is with you. Bend the knees of your heart, and call out to the one who holds the world in his hands. The Rock of your salvation.
Take a moment to Step-back and Breathe.
There is a point when an argument becomes a tennis match. You slam words back and forth across the line in the sand.
Think about what you are saying, so the words spoken are helpful; and, so that the words spoken today are not scars tomorrow.
Step-back, open your arms wide and hold-on to the one who never changes and whose foundation is immovable. Then, maybe, step forward with arms open wide and hold the one you love.
Lower the volume and speak truth.
Only say the truth. Name-calling might be descriptive, and even give a feeling of satisfaction for the moment, but truth spoken softly in love can change anger and bring a listen ear.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh words stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise bring healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)
Earthquakes can be opportunities to break free and bring about important changes.
When we find a lot of shaking going on, it can change the dynamics, and provide an opportunity to freely speak truth.
“And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed…and Paul called out to the Jailer, ‘do yourself no harm, we are here, and the lights were turned on…’” (Acts 16:26-29)
The shifting in a marriage is not always harmful in and of itself. How we respond to the anger can help or hinder the work God is trying to accomplish.
“Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.” (Luke 6:47-49)
How do you show love in an argument? How can moving plates build a better foundation?
Linking with to Love Honor and Vacuum.
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